The Blood On Your Voter ID Card | Arts & Culture

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The Blood On Your Voter ID Card
The Blood On Your Voter ID Card

The Blood On Your Voter ID Card

“ If you can’t vote you ain’t free, if you ain’t
free you are a slave” Rachel Nelson 1965
Civil Rights Movement.

The political climate is changing with the drawing
near of Election Day. There have already been
questionable voting changes seen as a method to
decrease the political power of minorities and people
of color.  The purging of names from voting lists,
questioning a person’s nationality, investigation 
of thousands of voter residences, employment
and financial status verification, these actions 
and others will increase  as the August voting
date nears.

This is the time for public voting solidarity and the
understanding that the right to vote was awarded
by the blood of those who died in the early 50’s,
60’s, and 70’s. The Blood On Your Voter ID Card
is still fresh, it will never dry nor fade.

The Voting Rights Act of 1965 awarded minorities
and women not just Blacks the opportunity to have
the right to vote. There seems to be a dangerous
complacency today in the act of voting. Maybe people
need to watch “Eyes On The Prize” again to witness
what was sacrificed for peoples right to vote.

Blacks and Whites were beaten, humiliated, cursed,
spit on, and even killed. Killings were indiscriminate,
both men and women, Black and White ere killed
protesting for the right to vote.

The protesters were peaceful, but the response was
violent. Solidarity was strong during the 50’s, 60’s,
and 70’s, it could be seen even in the educational
field, during this era teachers were respected and
seen as community role models and leaders.  The
protests of Selma, Alabama 1965 teachers
nonviolently protested with their students. Rachel
West Nelson at that time was 9 years old articulated
that teachers sacrificed their jobs and lives. Educators
were leaders in their communities, admired and respected.

The candidates running for current political offices like
Rhonda Peoples Waters (peoples4judge.com) have a
vision for equitable rights in our community for all
citizens. The action to vote is a responsibility and a
right that should not be taken for granted. Even DCPS
School Board positions are available an families need
to show up at the candidate discussions at Raines High
School on Tuesday, July 31, 2012 to hear for themselves
how someone will or will not support the vision for
District 1.

In respect for men like Jimmy Lee Jackson who protested
with his mother, died protecting her while they protested
for the right to vote. He was shot by an Alabama State
Trooper. Even Reverend  James Reeb, a White man, his
belief in equality cost him his life; died from being hit in
the head by an axe handle, killed by a White man like
himself. They and many more even women made a sacrifice
that cannot be ignored. Too many today choose not
to exercise their duty to vote either out of ignorance
or complacency.

Listening to speeches of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. as
he guides heated emotions of that era, soothing minds
and spirits, working for non violent protests. Listening to
John Lewis (Chairman SNCC) talk about “how many more”
need to die so Blacks and other minorities can be free.
Free to vote, free to exercise their rights.

Too many people in the 20th and 21st century have forgotten
the blood, fears, injustices and pains inflicted on peaceful
protesters. Places like Jackson, Mississippi; Birmingham,
Selma and Montgomery, Alabama and even in Atlanta, Georgia.
All communities experienced the ravages of keeping Blacks
as second class citizens, if not lower class people.
Denying them the rights to vote as citizens of the United
States. Even in Jacksonville, Florida too many have forgotten
the ravages of violence against Blacks, fighting for
Constitutional Rights they should already have.

I’m a product of the 1960’s, born and raised in
Philadelphia, Pa, I still remember shopping with my
mother and seeing separate bathrooms, separate water
fountains and being told to enter a store from the back door.
Those born in the 80’s and after for the most part were not
exposed to these atrocities. The humiliation and denial of
basic rights. All citizens of voting age should have a
Voter ID Card, they should even today still see the blood
on their voter ID’s, they should see the eyes of Governor
George Wallace of Alabama as he ordered State Troopers
to stop peaceful protesters even using violence against
children, women, men that the young and elderly.

The right to vote is not an option, it is not a luxury, it is
not a joke. It is a means to voice a person’s Constitutional
Right to elect political representatives elected by the people
to perform the will of the people.
Listening to the prayers of Reverend Ralph Abernathy (SCLC)
it is clear that the spirit of freedom, the human spirit of
equality should be the right of every citizen no matter their
gender or color. The right and privilege of voting should be
cherished and honored by all citizens especially Black,
Hispanic and Latinos. Take the time to view “Eyes On The
Prize" and see how Blacks right to vote was earned. Then
you will understand why there is still
Blood On Your Voter ID Card.

August 14, voters in parts of the Northside and Westside
will go to the polls to elect a school board representative
in District 5. Want to know what the candidates think about
the issues? Ask them yourself! Both candidates in
District 1 are confirmed to attend the forum on
Tuesday, July 31 at 6 p.m. at Raines High School. Our kids
can't vote, but YOU can! Make your voice heard
in this vitally important election on August 14.
— The Jacksonville Public Education Fund team

Resources:
Voting Rights Act 1965 – United States Dept of Justice
http://www.justice.gov/crt/about/vot/intro/intro_b.php

America’s Historical Documents
http://www.archives.gov/historical-docs/document.html?doc=18&title.raw=Voting%20Rights%20Act

Politico
http://www.politico.com/2012-election/florida/

Duval County Supervisor or Elections
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Duval-County-Supervisor-of-Elections/100017811298

 

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